Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Chinese mineral shortage of Olympic proportions

China has instituted a ban on mining in regions around Beijing in preparation for the Olympic Games in August, according to a report in IM - Industrial Minerals magazine (www.indmin.com). Although the Chinese central government has not confirmed it, reports from local jurisdictions and people in the mining business, no mining explosives can be used in a 600-km radius around Beijing from April through September. Other mining operations are reportedly being shuttered to reduce pollution during the games. IM says suppliers call the situation "complete chaos" with reductions of key minerals for domestic use and export. The areas affected produce bauxite (for aluminum), flint clay, kaolin, magnesite, talc, and graphite.

Chinese mineral production has been hit by huge snowstorms, power outages, and supply problems this past winter, putting strain on a system already under great pressure to expand to meet ravenous demands.

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